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2013 AFL Dream Team Rule Changes

Virtual Sports have finally released the annual tweaks to SuperCoach – and we have some big ones. If we make the logical assumption that DT will be identical to SC, then we now what what to expect in season 2013! Check out the changes and what they’ll mean for you.

Virtual Sports have finally released the annual tweaks to SuperCoach – and we have some big ones. If we make the logical assumption that DT will be identical to SC, then we now know what to expect in season 2013! Without too much changing structurally in the AFL since last season, I was surprised to see such a large shift in thinking from the powers-that-be – but I think we can all agree that it’s not such a bad thing given how the MBRs worked out last season!

Let’s check out the confirmed changes, and see what it means for us. Just remember – Virtual Sports, the AFL, Herald Sun and Toyota all have varying needs and preferences commercially which has certainly influenced some of the larger alterations. Without commercial viability, we have no DreamTeam – so keep the business side of things in mind when you critique the changes to our much-loved competition!

With that in mind, let’s ease in with a pretty straight-forward improvement:


4 Emergencies

This gets a massive tick from me and from the sounds of it, the entire DT population. I can understand why Virtual Sports (VS) persisted with 3 emergencies for so long, with everything kept as close to the AFL as possible, such as salary cap, number of teams per league, etc. But this was a common sense call, as too often undeserving coaches were struck down with bad luck and force fed donuts in the uncovered line – usually in the rucks.

No more impossible decisions to make with the emergency button any more, and probably a lot less profanities thrown around and broken laptop screens from unlucky coaches this season. Great call, straight-forward call.


 30 Trades

I’m tipping this change probably won’t have the same approval rating… I know there is a large majority of DTers who oppose the increase of trades, with a sensible fear that it might make the game ‘too easy’.

Ultimately, it’s success comes down to the Magic Number (MN). If VS has increased the number of trades since last year, it makes sense that they will increase the MN accordingly. Put simply – to make up for the extra trades which can make it easier for a coach to ‘finish’ their side earlier, the average starting prices of players would be increased so that your starting squad is weaker, which in turn makes it more difficult to attain that ‘complete’ side. Put even simpler – you’ll be able to fit in fewer Premiums in your starting squad to make up for the extra trades which can be used to upgrade to Premiums over the season.

This change appeals to a lot of parties involved in the DT machine. Commercially, it’s fantastic. Casual fantasy coaches will hang around for longer (as we know some just burn two trades a week then get bored with their stagnant squad), which results in more ‘clicks’ for the site (and more profit from advertisers, etc.). It also keeps the rest of us on the DT site for longer; pondering the possibilities our 6 new trades affords us.

Personally, I’m happy with it, provided they manipulate the Magic Number accordingly. It’s not an excessive increase, and it will help boost participation levels and corporate interest. From a coach’s perspective, it should give us more flexibility with injuries and hopefully we finally learn to squirrel more away for finals time.


New 6-8-2-6 Structure

For those who have been around for a while, a structure tweak is massive news, especially as VS has resisted public pressure on the subject for years. For as long as I can remember, it has always been 7 Defenders, 6 Midfielders, 2 Rucks and 7 Forwards. Which is fine, except that the majority of players have MID eligibility.

Based on last year’s eligibilities, we had 277 DEF, 259 FWD, 78 RUCK and 314 MID eligible players. Given the 6-8-2-6 structure, we had to choose 2.5% of Defenders, 2.7% of Forwards, 2.6% of Ruckmen but only 1.9% of Midfielders to start on our fields. This is particularly counter-intuitive when you consider that the best DTers are generally midfielders due to their higher possession rates.

With a 6-8-2-6 structure, things will be much more even across the board.  We now get to pick 2.2% of available Defenders, 2.3% of Forwards, 2.6% of Ruckmen and 2.5% of available midfielders.

I’m very excited for the change because it completely opens up the midfield to:

a) Mid-Pricers. With only 8 slots (including benches) in the midfield in seasons past, it’s been hard to ignore the Guns and Rookies approach and pick a risky Mid-Pricer over high-value rookies and upper-echelon Premiums. This is particularly annoying given that the best Mid-Pricers are usually midfielders, with guys like Ebert, Masten, McCarthy, Jack and Scott Selwood all worthy of a start last season, but being overlooked due to a lack of space. And;

b) More Midfield Rookies. These guys generally score more than their counterparts, but in the past we’ve been forced to select just a few from a large batch, while we scrape the bottom of the barrel for Forward and Defender rookies in particular. With low-risk MID-only rookies like O’Meara and Crouch hard to ignore in 2013, it should also give us more unique starting squads.


 Best 18 for MBR’s (likely)

This isn’t confirmed yet, but if it’s the way they go… Hallelujah! Something had to be done after last season, and I’m be super glad if it isn’t something gimmicky like Temporary Trades or Average Scores or something like that.

Basically, over the MBR’s, only our Best 18 scorers will contribute to our weekly score. If you have all 22 field positions covered, tough luck. Your highest 18 scorers are the only one who matter, irrespective of position. This means that we still have to plan somewhat for the MBRs, taking care not to pick too many players from any one Bye Round. What it does mean, is that we don’t have to worry about limiting byes within positional lines – unlike last season, where we were pigeon-holed into selecting or avoiding certain players because you’d already selected too many or not enough players in the position from that particular bye round. Wow, it’s exhausting just saying it.

Best 18 still involves an element of skill to select a well-balanced squad (and one that can be transformed cleverly over the MBRs), while keeping it simple enough for the casual DTers to navigate.

Basically, if this is the way it goes (and we think it will) then it will be awesome.


Permanent Rolling Lockout


Every fantasy coach I know hated this idea, but it’s here. And it’s not hard to see why – fantasy addicts logging into the site all weekend, navigating late withdrawals and non-inclusions on the fly… It’s a web host’s dream. Commercially, this is a great thing for DT and particularly its sponsors, but it doesn’t help out the casual DT coach at all.

It works just like the partial lockouts we had in 2012 – once a game starts, they are completely locked out from all changes; trading, substitutions, Captain selection, all of it. But you can still trade and sub any player who hasn’t started playing yet – handy for negotiating Sub vests, late withdrawals and exclusion from a Sunday squad – right up until their games commences.

And even though I hate it… As Warnie says, biggest nerd wins. Which is basically us – those who follow the game religiously, glued to a laptop or smartphone all weekend will be the clear beneficiaries.

It does, however, mean that we won’t have our hands tied when late withdrawals hit en masse, and the issue with Sunday Squads will be a thing of the past. So I guess that’s a positive you can take out of some very, umm, interesting news, especially when the DT community were basically united against the concept.


What do you think? Do you like the changes from DT 2012? What improvements could they have made but haven’t confirmed yet? Let us know in the comments. One thing’s for sure… 2013 is going to be a HUGE year in DT!

Tweet me at @Tbetta9 for all things DT.

Alex Trombetta has been with DT Talk since 2011 providing content in various forms. A lover of Classic, Draft and DFS, you can be sure to be getting top-notch advice from the Eagles man.



  1. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

    @ Your a Hero :b .. With the rolling lockout it wont be an even playing field because the people who dont work weekends will get to change their teams for late withdrawals,vests etc and will ultimately be way ahead. As i stated earlier i like the changes apart from the rolling lockout

    • Avatar


      December 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Yup. I work 2 weekends a month, I don’t like the rolling lock-out thing at all. But I’m hooked & I will adapt like most of us.

  2. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Like all the changes except rolling lockout. People are going to lose league games because of less access than an opponent.

  3. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I like these changes – keeps us on our toes & for me adds a level of fun :) Less likely to cop zeros (or subs) with the 4 emergencies & rolling lockout. More trades is more fun, more mids is more fun & the best 18 for the MBRs is definitely more fun!

    Some valid concerns about the rolling lockout causing some losses in points/league wins, though I think they will be fairly minimal. Best 18 may make it easier for the less experienced DT coaches, but I think the experienced ones will still make it work to their advantage more than others, so I think all in all it’s very positive.

    Now trying to work out the best strategies – VC/Emergency loopholes may come into play some weeks (though to be honest I’d prefer all 30 players were all player each week!); also enjoying the initial squad selection need only account for the MBRs over a whole squad now, need not be per position. This helps to have say a lot of Backs & Mids from R13 and simply not have as many in the Rucks or Fwds.

    A lot more quality Ruck/Fwds will also give more flexibility in the Rucks that wasn’t much of an option in 2012. Exciting times!

  4. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Dont get the hate for the rolling lockout…reduces the luck factor. Hated the last year with all the late changes. At least now, if ur so inclined, u can cover for those last minute changes.

    Would much rather the winner be “the biggest nerd” or person with the most access, than the winner be the one with the most luck.

    • Avatar


      December 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Totally agree, I would find it more frustrating losing a match because Hawthorn and Geelong name players on thursday then the general rocks up on game day or Collingwood drops players the day of the game for off field problems and not be able to limit the damage , than be beaten by some person who wants to put in more effort than me.

  5. Avatar

    Arthur Mongrel

    December 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    The game evovles and so should the fantasy aspect. So, changes have to be part ‘n’ parcel of the competition. Don’t mind the rolling lock out, but can see what others are saying, at the same time. I won’t be sitting at my PC all weekend, but if I get some news and can make a change, I will – if not, too bad. It won’t save all my donuts, but it might help with one here and one there.

    Like the new structure – more midfielders makes sense. It’s the way the game is evloving so this is just keeping up with what DT is supposed to be imitating.

    I tend to agree with the coaches who would have preferred the emergencies to stay at 3. if you’ve been clever enough to work out your squad, so that you have the “correct” cover, it should be to your advantage. Majority seem happy with the change however, so will have to live with it.

    Best 18 over MBR’s is probably the one that I don’t like the most, but I can see the reasoning and it does make sense. Still think it takes away soem advantage from the coach who is prepared to put the time in.

    Ultimately, think the fantasy side of competition should mirror the real game – bigger squads, less trading. Would mean more diversity in teams and a far more interesting competition.

    Thanks for the heads up, tbetta.

  6. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I think everyone forgets, that, even with the proposed changes, the game is still about 85% luck, and it is luck that will primarily decide where everyone finishes, not who puts in the most effort.

  7. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Personally don’t mind the changes. Would have preferred that the 3 emergencies remained, keeping it the same as the AFL, but if you had a DPP player on the bench they could be the emergency for two lines.

    I also don’t mind the rolling lockout as much as everyone else seems to, and don’t think it will have the monumental effect on the game that others seem to foresee.

    • Avatar


      December 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Yeah I agree Benny that the rolling lockout wont have such a massive influence as some people are claiming. I mean sure occasionally a player that is in your starting 22 is a late withdrawal but that’s what emergencies are for. As for rookies in your squad getting the vest it will just require some homework (Sub-marine) and some luck if one can’t get online before teams are announced – we will all get caught out at some time or another much like when a player in your 22 goes down injured in the 1st or 2nd Qtr.

  8. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    All the changes, other than the Rolling Lockout, simply change how we choose our initial teams and manage our trades. No big deal.

    However the Rolling Lockout screws every Dreamteamer who does shift work, weekend jobs or has a social life. I work every weekend and often have no internet access from Friday to Monday and this year I had 4 early donuts from late withdrawals. At least I shared them with others this year. Next year the donuts will be mine alone.


  9. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    solution to the rolling lockout problems,

    everyone find a friend who you trust to check your dt while your at work/away

    • Avatar


      December 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      More like trade out Ablett and Swan to rookies who aren’t playing and making them captain

  10. Avatar


    December 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Sorry Thommo but with all respect hows it different to the previous lockout system?

    Those that couldn’t/didn’t have access on Friday arvos were severely disadvantaged anyway. This way at least we get a few chances at being able to cover late changes.

  11. Avatar


    December 2, 2012 at 1:40 am

    rolling lockout is alright with me, dreamteam’s alright OH YEAH! :)

    I have told some of my league mates who are not as mad as I am and they seem to like all the changes. The rolling lockout is popular because if they forget to set their team (due to byes or injuries or something) then they at least have a chance to fix it in some capacity where as last year they got annoyed at it.

  12. Avatar


    December 2, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Absolutely upset if they bring in this best 18 dynamic over the MBR’s. The only impact it will have is handicap the scoring benefit of players who navigate the MBR’s well. Nubs wont notice it, average players wont care, and dedicated players will only like it if it reduces their score loss over the MBR’s.

    Sorry, but I can’t see a reason to implement this rule change, be it from a business poit of view, and more so from a strategic point of view.

    • Warnie


      December 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

      Quite simply, the nuffies all dropped off due to the bye rounds. No body likes donuts. I coped well, but I’m looking at te bigger picture. I want more players playing for longer. So does VS/AFL/Herald Sun. This will help it. 3 of 23 rounds isn’t much!

      As a good DT coach, I like the challenge… but I also see reality!

      • Avatar

        Big Feller

        December 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

        The only reason Jungle doesn’t like it is because he dominated in the MBRs last year ;)

        • Avatar

          Arthur Mongrel

          December 2, 2012 at 11:11 am

          Still reckon simply increasing squads to 36 would have achieved everything the other changes are supposed to fix, without being so mish-mash. It would have also kept the die-hards happy and given the newbies enough to keep them interested.

          • Avatar


            December 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm

            36 players in a squad is a horrible idea. It’s going to be hard enough to find enough rookies to fill out these teams, much less 6 more. There is no reason to have all those extra players.

          • Avatar

            Arthur Mongrel

            December 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

            @ portetdaspet

            What do you mean it’s a horrible idea? Which planet are you on? Alberton perhaps?

            Honestly, we just had defenders and forwards reduced by 1 – was it terrribly difficult to select 9 last year in each of these positions? One more than that (10) shouldn’t be all that more difficult a task. Granted, we don’t have Gold Coast or GWS this year, so it might make it tough on some coaches who aren’t all that bright.

            The only aspect that needs to be “tinkered” is the magic number to ensure that 36 players of a reasonable variety – guns, mid-pricers & rookies – can fit under the salary cap.

            And in reality that then brings the “mid-pricer” into the game more than probably is the case at present. That would then probably result in very different teams,rather than as somoeone put it above, everybody having the same “biscuit cutter” team.

            So, 2 extra def, mid & fwds. Play 6 def & fwds, 8 mids – 4 reserves, one of which you nominate as your emergency. Problem solved – no need for best 18 over the MBR’s, rolling lock-out has less effect as coaches have more cover to help with injury doubts, or possible frogs, prior to locking in their team on Friday afternoon and you wouldn’t need 30 trades!

            It’s not rocket science!

          • Warnie


            December 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm

            Increasing the squad to that will make a mockery of the competiton after the bye rounds as players will be redundent or sold off after these weeks. Leaving at 30 is fine and reducing squads is an easy solution that will have no impact on the other 20 rounds.

          • Avatar


            December 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm

            I agree with Warnie 100%. If you have 6 DEF/FWDS on the ground and 4 on the bench than that is farcical. If you have more players like this (and I think you wanted less trades too) then you could conceivably (its even likely) that you have some players that never earn enough cash to be traded profitably, but never get a game because of everyone’s ridiculous depth. Who wants some hack on your bench all year?

            For me, most of the fun of DT is in trading and trying to find the best bargains. Under your system it seems more like you pick a big squad at the start of the year and see how they go. With 36 players and 20 trades there would be very little scope for flexibility and risk taking in trading. DT loses most of the intellectual challenge for me once I have run out of trades, which is essentially what would happen after Round 1 here.

            Furthermore, I’m not convinced that this would result in more varied teams as everyone would have to pick so many players. Under your plans everyone would pick literally every rookie named for Round 1 and still have spaces left over for the best midpricers, which would probably end up being largely the same anyway.

            The only way to bring midpricers into the game more would be to dramatically increase the price of rookies relative to other players, but I doubt VS will go down this path in the near future. As long as most rookies are priced at an average of 20-25 then guns and rookies will be the only legitimate strategy..

          • Avatar

            Arthur Mongrel

            December 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

            Well, I did say you could tinker with the magic number so that you have to look at some different options to make it all work – Guns & Rookies would be one way, but I think you would find more diversity, due to the larger number.

            The article seemed to be asking about how people feel, regarding the new rules. From reading a lot of the other posts, it would appear a number of the changes have many critics. My solution was to provide “1” rule change which to my way of thinking, solves a whole raft of problems that are perceived with the DT competition. Anyway, was just thinking aloud, as the deal is done, so nobody needs to get thier panties in a bunch.

            On the other hand, perhaps you could tell me how many people does an AFL list have on it? Why so many? Didn’t we have 3 reserves on each line, the year before last and 33 player squads? Was that a real hardship for everyone?

            I think very strategically about my trades – but hey, with 30, who cares. I reckon 2 a week and I’ll still be struggling to use them all. But those guys in my league who have no “restraint” when it comes to trading – Merry Xmas. Knock yourselves out, fellas!

            Oh well – get out the biscuit cutter, ‘coz here it comes!!!

          • Warnie


            December 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm

            Completely understand what you’re saying… and the magic number stuff makes sense, BUT you won’t need players 31-36 for 20 rounds, making them redundant and also a waste there on your bench. Make them all basement priced players who won’t get a game and then you have more cash to spend on your field.

            The game needs to stay simple for the 90% of people who play for fun and don’t use sites like ours.

            – 30 trades keep people playing longer
            – Best 18 saves donuts and the drop off of casual users (ala 2012)

            I’m a fan of the changes from a business perspective – except for rolling lockout… as I think it’s a quick cash grab for traffic on AFL and Herald Sun sites for the latest info but going against the simplicity of the game… which now won’t be accessable for all to play the best they can.

          • Warnie


            December 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm

            Casual players want to pick guys they have heard of, so MN is important to be accessable for everyone. 36 players spreads it too thin.

          • Avatar

            Arthur Mongrel

            December 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm

            Cheers Warnie – understand what you’re saying.

            Still, being in business myself, I have a very strong belief in the 80/20 rule. And perhaps that’s something VS and the other parties pandering to the rats & mice haven’t considered. Certainly the number of posts that are voicing dissatisfaction with “all” these changes in a single season, seem to have some concerns about the competiton, going forward.

            Time will tell and I’ll certainly being playing, as I suspect a number of the people who are slightly annoyed at this change or that change, will be.

  13. Avatar


    December 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Just read of the first thought with 8 mid fielders is that it is imperative to have a couple of dual position players in the mid field, getting 8 out of 10 up every week won’t be easy. One mid/fwd one mid/back.

  14. Avatar

    Paul F

    December 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Avid DTer who has foolishly at times over commited my time to the game, just being on this site on the 2nd day of summer is a testament to that.

    Next year i’m going to have work commitments that will unfortunately take me away from dedicating friday to sunday to foxfooty and the regular DT websites. I would still have backed myself in to do well with my limited time due to past DT “smarts” and some good preseason efforts however some of the changes have dampened my spirits.

    Surely having rolling lockouts combined with emergencies across all positions leaves the scoring open to manipulation? Every week now people with the ability to sit down prior to and directly after every completed game will have access to the vice captain loophole??? I would have thought this would have been a bloody obvious thing to make the Mathmatically minded people at VS go maybe this isn’t a good idea.

    You say the added trades are designed to keep more people interested for longer but realistically rolling lockouts have the direct opposite effect, making it so that the narrow band of people who have full weekends to dedicate to there DT prospects can manipulate there score every week to eak out that extra 50-200 points putting a lot of people out of the game. May main commitment is in “cash league” with mates where we all put in a decent wack of money which makes for a good prize at the end of it and thus a very competitive league. If everyone else in the league has the opportunity to chop and change players, EM’s, VC’s and C’s all weekend while i’m busting my hump I’ll find it very hard to remain competitive.

    These changes smack a bit of the AFL rules comittee, feeling they have to make change just to justify there existance.

    I think this really opens up the door for a dedicated young fella with a good footy brain and the time on his hands to take it out, 14yr old Johny Smith needing mum or dad to drive the car home for him!

    While we’re on the car how about making a change here hey? In the past 3 or so years with out the figures i’d suggest DT and other style games popularity has grown at least 3 fold, any chance the prizes could increase at a corrisponding rate? People are stoked to finish top 1000 which realistically means nothing. Sure bragging rights are great but with the commercial value DT now creates surely prizes can be pushed up past a car and $1000 a week.

    Of the other changes I don’t really have any issue. Bye stuff makes it easier for us all and trades, give us 40 trades and I’m sure some people would run out! But Partial Lockouts, PLEASE! If it aint broke don’t try and fix it.

  15. Avatar


    December 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    What will happen with the “reverse” button with the rolling lockout??

    • Warnie


      December 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      It won’t exist when the first lockout strikes… just like the partial lockouts this year.

  16. Avatar


    December 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    @portetdaspet I’m kind of new to this – only been playing since the Suns and Giants came along. Did people play Gn’R in 2010 and prior? Seems risky. With Suns and Giants the rookies job security was rock solid but with the 2013 rookies will it be? Interested in your thoughts. Cheers

    • Avatar


      December 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      As long as there are rookies who play a bit (they don’t have to play every game, but something like 7 of first 11 is nice) than it will be the superior strategy. Rookies will always show up in the NAB Cup and will be there for us in the first couple of months. Their JS may be slightly suspect, but it’s well and truly worth the risk.

      Basement rookies are priced at something like 20ppg. Especially if they are in the midfield and play full games they will average something like 60 as a minimum, some can do a lot better. That’s an improvement of 40ppg. If you compare that to a midpricer priced at 50ppg (~$250k), then they would need to average more than 90 to be a better pick than the standard rookie, which is hard.

      I’m not saying don’t pick any midpricers, obviously you need to get the good ones, but in terms of value rookies will come out on top. Now, if the price of rookies was doubled, then the competition would be much more interesting and more players would be in play…

      • Avatar


        December 3, 2012 at 8:53 pm

        Thanks. Your illustration of ppg sums it up well. Doubling rookies prices I reckon would make for a far more interesting competition. Seems like you can just find the most popular rookies at the 11th hour using Assistant Coach.

  17. Avatar


    December 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Cheerio to Al Paton. Good to see he reads DT Talk.

  18. Avatar


    December 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Lesson one:
    Only trust people who like big butts…

    They cannot lie.

  19. Avatar


    December 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    rolling lockout = increased smartphone purchases for telstra doesn’t it. i would of thought most people that are on this site in the off season are serious enough about DT that they would keep a close eye on late changes/subs anyway. no one says you have to watch every game, just tune in 30 minutes prior to each game and check it out. a lot of the time no changes will be needed. If your working weekends, just tell your boss that fri/saturday nights are your curry nights and you’ve got the shits, so you can check your changes whilst letting rip on the shitter!!!!!!

  20. Avatar

    Dream on!

    December 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I recall some people complaining last preseason that with the DODT, player discussion and some brilliant DTers sharing their teams, it was too easy for a novice to spend 5 minutes on here and throw together a strong lineup. The answer was that this is true, but the cream rises with trading throughout the season. Those people must now be more satisfied that the top coaches will shine through with more trades being required to complete teams.

  21. Avatar


    December 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    cant wait

  22. Avatar


    February 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    will adapt

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